The Diarists: This week in history


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The Independent Culture

13 April 1945

The pacifist Vera Brittain writes in her diary:

"It was announced at midnight that yesterday afternoon President Roosevelt died… Thought all day of my talk with him at the White House in December 1937 &, despite the altercations over bombing, felt I had lost a personal friend… Sent a cable to Eleanor Roosevelt. Seems an ironic end – like Lincoln's – when the victory he worked for is almost here & both armies are approaching Berlin."

15 April 1778

The Rev James Woodforde, author of 'The Diary of a Country Parson', writes in his diary:

"Brewed a vessel of strong beer today. My two large pigs by drinking some of the beer grounds out one of my barrels today, got so amazingly drunk by it that they were not able to stand and appeared like dead things almost and so remained all night from dinner time today. I never saw pigs so drunk in my life. I slit their ears for them without feeling."

19 April 1977

The social reformer Roy Jenkins writes in his diary:

"I was taken into the Oval Office for a private talk with President Jimmy Carter… He said, 'I expect you know this room well. Have you been her often before/' I said, 'Yes, I think I have seen four of your predecessors here/' He very quickly said, 'That means you start with Kennedy, does it?' So I said, 'Yes, though I also met both Truman and Eisenhower, though neither when they were in office and therefore not in this room.' I added, conversationally, 'But, to my regret, I never set eyes upon Roosevelt. Did you, Mr President, by chance see him when you were a boy/' 'See him,' said Carter incredulously. 'I have never seen any Democratic President. I never saw Kennedy. I never saw Lyndon Johnson… I saw Nixon, and I both saw and talked to Ford, of course, and that's all. You see I am very new to this scene of Washington politics.' This he said without prickliness or chippiness or bitterness, simply as a matter of fact of which he was half but not excessively proud."